The River Ran Dry

"Life Before" A collaborative work on climate change

In 2020 I was asked to be a part of a published collaboration between 14 worldwide artists , Paradigm Publishing and Addidas Skateboarding to reflect on and creatively produce work relating to our own individual relationship with and about climate change. We were to focus on the "Life Before" we reached the irreversible tipping point when our home, planet Earth, would be changed so drastically, that so would our lives. I photographed the Rio Grande, the third largest river in the contiguous United States. I photographed the river from it's headwaters in Colorado, following it down to Big Bend State and Big Bend National Park on the Mexico/US border in west Texas. I talked to a multitude of people who had some relationship or other with the Rio Grande. I spoke with farmers, irrigators, biologists, wanderers, indigenous folks, anglers, engineers and many others who all told me the same thing, they've all seen the Rio Grande slowly dying over the last 15 years. They've seen longer periods of a dry riverbed with little to no water. They've witnessed the lack of migratory birds and of fish. They've watched the water get lower and lower in one of the biggest reservoirs in the southwest. They've had to pump more from aquifers and have seen the tensions grow as folks further down the line have less and less water access each year. I only had two weeks, following the river, to photograph my observations. I was sincerely hoping to find that perhaps everyone had simply been over reacting and fear feeding. After two weeks of living next to the river, months of reading water and snowpack reports, and half a year editing photographs, I came to the realization that my optimism was very misguided. Here was my submission.